Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On this date in 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzingh Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mt. Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest
Prior to the Everest expedition, Hillary had been part of the British reconnaissance expedition to the mountain in 1951. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antartic Expedition, he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest.
Following his ascent of Everest, Hillary devoted himself to assisting the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he established. His efforts are credited with the construction of many schools and hospitals in Nepal. Hillary had numerous honors conferred upon him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995. Upon his death in 2008, he was given a state funeral in New Zealand. (from Wikipedia)